>> Thursday, October 14, 2010
When the Greenhouse Cafe left Harvard Square, it really felt like a Harvard Square institution had left. Never mind if you liked it or not (its popularity was definitely debated), it was such a landmark right in the middle of the square that things definitely felt just a bit different after it left.
Soon afterwards, the previously old and tired looking space transformed into a gleaming, modern bar with huge open-air windows, tall tables and seats, and a large chalkboard filled with a listing of draft beers.
Welcome to Cambridge Tory Row!
Owners Matthew W. Curtis and Christopher A. Lutes are no newcomers to the Cambridge restaurant scene. In fact, they already own four other successful restaurants in the Boston area: Middlesex Lounge, Audobon Circle, Cambridge 1, and Miracle of Science. I personally am a HUGE fan of Miracle of Science, and I really like the grilled pizzas at Cambridge 1 as well. So it's not a surprise that we found the food at Tory Row to be quite pleasant and surprisingly reasonably priced, especially considering its prime location.
local burrata, heirloom tomatoes, microgreens, honey sherry vinaigrette - $12
Tory Row tries to offer fresh local ingredients when possible. During the summer, for example, they had this fantastic local burrata salad (you know how much I love burrata), complete with summer fresh tomatoes and microgreens.
Depending on when you go, you could get yellow tomatoes, or maybe even a mix of two different types! This dish is quite reasonably priced at $12.
confit duck salad, poached cherries, pickled shallots, frisee, arugula, pink vinaigrette - $13
The first time we went, Bryan ordered the confit duck salad, which he actually really enjoyed. It had good flavor, quality ingredients, and only cost $13!
We got the local sweet corn chowder ($7), which was pretty good, though nothing earth-shattering. There was also a kitchen mix up, so we got the soup after we got our entrees. Oops. We actually sent back our entrees and told them we wanted to enjoy our soup first.
heirloom tomato, robiola, almonds, balsamic reduction - $10
Their flatbreads, which are only $10 each, can easily be shared as an appetizer between 2-3 people or ordered as an entree for one.
smoked bacon, vermont white cheddar, baby spinach, bermuda onion - $10
bacon cheeseburger, mixed greens, roasted potatoes = $10
The burger was solid and cooked a proper medium rare. The roasted potatoes are the same ones that you get at Miracle of Science, which are absolutely delicious.
Croque monsieur, black forest ham, gruyere, whole grain mustard, mixed greens - $10
grilled tuna, haricots vert, whole grain mustard–ginger vinaigrette $16
I thought the tuna was pretty good. We asked them to cook it "as rare as possible," which they obliged. (sorry, no picture of it cut up!)
braised beef chili, vermont cheddar $8
Tory Row won a Harvard Square chili contest with this chili! It's cheesy, hearty, and definitely delivers a nice spicy kick! We both thought it was pretty good and could totally see why it could win a local contest!
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food here. We walked in the first time expecting to find ordinary pub food. Imagine our surprise when we saw duck confit salad and burrata on the menu for under $15 each! You have access to some great local ingredients cooked into some pretty decent dishes. Nothing is earth shattering or wildly inventive, as most of the dishes would probably be considered classic "comfort" foods. Nevertheless, they've done a nice job of taking familiar foods and giving them just a tiny oomph, jazzing them up to the next level.
We would definitely consider coming back here again if we were in Harvard Square and wanted to enjoy a simple and enjoyable meal without breaking the bank.
3 Brattle St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Time to time I receive free products, meals, etc. as a food blogger. I do not receive any payment for blog posts/reviews. The views expressed in this post are completely my own. One of the two meals documented in this post was provided by Tory Row.